Thursday, 24 January 2013

Confession of a Lazy Mother

This post is inspired by this one by Ms Mummy of Two about potty training. It got me thinking about how I did it an even easier way - which then got me thinking about how I am a Lazy Mother.

I live in a small town, and most people with children of a similar age know eachother at least by sight. Some of us know eachother very well, because we all went to Toddler Group. Toddler Group was where I first encountered the whole 'baby race' thing. You know: how it's a race for the toddlers to get dry, to talk, to pass their first GCSE etc.

Potty training was the first time I realised that I am not competitive by proxy. I couldn't have given a monkey's about when Son was potty trained. So I'd sit and listen to the manky stories of wet carpets and sodden clothes; of hovering mothers, potty in hand; of constipation brought about by pure stubborness; of having to change beds in the middle of the night. And I would wonder - why? WHY?

Yet even then, I knew I must keep quiet and not reveal my secret. I had once tentatively mentioned that I wasn't really bothering with potty training, and had received such withering looks you'd have thought I'd said I wasn't bothering with feeding. But here I am finally going to stick my head over the parapet and tell the gruesome truth. I DIDN'T POTTY TRAIN.

Before you ask, no, Son is not incontinent. Can't remember the exact ages, but I know he was reliably day-dry by the time he went to playschool at three, and night-dry at about 4 and a half, maybe 5 at the latest.

All this hovering was not my scene, way too intensive, not something I wanted to spend my time on (as I said, I am a Lazy Mother). Son was one of those toddlers who follows you around and he had been going to the toilet with me since he could crawl so he knew the drill (heck, he even knew all the ins and outs of the Mooncup). So I got a toilet seat adaptor thingy and a step, and put him in pull-ups. He got the hang of pooing in the toilet pretty quickly, peeing took somewhat longer, and there were occasional accidents even approaching going to nursery - but he was in pull-ups, so he'd just tell me, I'd change them, no biggie. Once he'd been dry for three days I popped him in pants, and job done, bar one accident where he was at toddler group and left it a bit late.

Night time the same - Son was a heavy sleeper, so until he outgrew his cotton nappies, I didn't bother even trying pull-ups. Eventually his pull-ups were dry at night sometime after he started school. I used bed mats for a few months afterwards, just to be on the safe side.

No trauma, and yes, he was probably one of the last kids around here to be dry, but now he's 11, does anyone remember? Does anyone ever meet a new acquaintance and ask, 'so, tell me, how old were you when you were reliably dry at night?' (I am now thinking I am SO going to do this when I go out on Saturday). Best of all, it wasn't a big deal - for me or him.

I never have been able to get too concerned with all the baby milestones. I didn't care that Son was at the slowest end of normal for the physical stuff, but neither did I brag about how he started talking at 8 months (well, maybe the odd retaliatory brag). Cos all kids are different. I'm afraid there are probably quite few Shifnal mothers who think I was rudely unimpressed at their child geniuses when I didn't praise their achievements to the skies. But there won't be any who would say I constantly whittered on about what Son could do and when either. It was never of interest to me.

And here we are, our children are all 11 or thereabouts. They all talk, they all walk, they all count. So why are these the things parents (and yes, sadly usually mothers) constantly focus on? Why does no-one look out for the first time a child does an altruistic act? Or the first time they are diplomatic to spare someone's feelings? Or even the first time they make up a genuinely funny joke, or think outside of the box? These are all skills that will be of benefit to them in the future, things that make up their personalities, that make them the people other people want to be around.

Then again, if I meet a bloke on Saturday who was night-time dry before age 3, I'm gonna snog the face off him. ;-)

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